Students must prepare a literature review, abstract and a short analysis for the mass persuasion campaign they have chosen.This paper does not have to be written in essay format but should nevertheless be well referenced and use structured paragraphs.
What Sort of Campaign Should I Analyse?
The aim of this assignment is to explore mass persuasion campaigns and how they function. You should choose a media campaign that has a social or political agenda to change attitudes and behaviour. The campaign can come from a range of sources and you are free to select an issue or topic that interests you.
These are all examples of the kinds of campaigns that could be analysed:
• A government campaign to change social attitudes and behaviours (e.g. smoking)
• A political campaign to influence voting (e.g. Trump 2016)
• A lobby group or NGO campaigning for or against a social issue (e.g. marriage equality)
• A media campaign to highlight or draw awareness to an issue (e.g. refugees)
• A corporate campaign aiming to change attitudes and behaviour (e.g. Volkswagen emissions)
For a corporate campaign, you should not be analysing an advertising campaign that aims to sell a commercial product.
You will not need to analyse the entire campaign. If your chosen campaign is particularly long and/or detailed you should consider focusing on a particular time-frame, event or a subset of media items within the campaign.
Writing the Paper
The paper should consist of a 100-word abstract, a 750-word literature review and a 200-word example of how content analysis can be applied to a media item from your campaign. The following are some suggestions for how you might approach these sections. You do not have to follow all of these suggestions but they may assist in planning and structuring your paper.
An abstract is a very brief summary of the contents of a research article or paper. Your abstract should concisely explain some of the following:
• What mass persuasion campaign are you choosing to analyse?
• Who produced the campaign and who was the audience?
• What are the key events and issues related to the campaign?
• What kind of media items you will be analysing?
• What is significant or important about this campaign?
• How will you be approaching the analysis of the campaign?
A literature review is a review of relevant academic research on a subject. Your literature review should be a detailed summary of peer-reviewed journal articles, books and other academic publications relating to your chosen campaign and related issues and themes. Non-academic sources (blogs, news articles, online encyclopedias, websites etc.) should not be used. The intent of this review is to summarise what is already known by researchers and academics about your campaign and related issues (or campaigns like it). The review should also explain how the research is relevant to your campaign and how it supports and informs your approach to analysing it. Your literature review should look at the following:
• What research articles and books have been written about your chosen campaign? If there aren’t any, what articles and books have been written about similar campaigns, related issues and themes?
• What research has been written about the organisations, individuals or key events relating to the campaign?
• What were their findings, what do they suggest and how did they analyse the campaign?
• What research articles and books have been written about broader issues relating to your campaign?
• What are the key terms, ideas and concepts used by researchers who explore these campaigns, issues and themes?
• Refer to ‘WHAT IS AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY’ on Canvas for additional tips.
Your sources should be arranged in a logical fashion so that you can show how they relate to one another and to your campaign. It is important that you also clearly demonstrate how these sources are relevant and help you to understand the nature and significance of your chosen mass persuasion campaign. A literature review should not simply be a list of books and articles written about your chosen area.
You must select a media item from your campaign and demonstrate the methodology you will be using to analyse it. In 200 words (excluding the source material) detail your approach to and analysis of the selected text and develop some content categories. Your analysis does not need to be exhaustive. Some suggested questions you might want to ask for your analysis:
• What kind of words or language is being used? Positive, negative, aggressive, enthusiastic?
• What word choices did the authors make? Why did they use certain terms or phrases instead of others?
• How frequently do they use certain words or phrases, how infrequently do they use others?
• What are the sources of the information in the media item?
• What evidence do they use to support their assertions?
• Who created the media item and what might their agenda be?
• How are events and issues being framed?
• Do they use hyperbole, exaggeration or other rhetorical strategies?
• Is there a clear construction of an “enemy” in the text?
• What aspects of the issue are they drawing attention to, and what are they trying to conceal?
For additional help understanding content analysis as a method you may want to refer to the text Social Research Methods (Oxford University Press) by Alan Bryman, or if you cannot access this there are other books and articles on this method available through the library and online databases.